Philosophy & Reflections

Shooting the Shooter – Photographs of me with my Cameras – By Jordi Fradera

February 10, 2021

I have been amateur photographer for many years and have always played the role of photographer on trips, excursions, family celebrations or simple walks with my wife. I appear in fewer photos than other people. A few days ago I read this article in which the the author said, “It’s rare for me to be the subject of a photograph, I am usually on the other side of the camera”. That comment made me reflect on my role as the photographer, and I decided to twist the idea.

I have quite a few photos in which I am seen as a subject, but how many as a photographer with a camera in hand? I decided to dig through the collection of photos that I keep, fortunately since I have digitised my archive, all are in digital format and so I am able to share with you a few that date right back to my childhood.

Looking back, I realise that because I’ve always been the one with the camera, I have distributed many photos to many acquaintances, but practically nobody has done the same for me. Because of this, almost all the photos of me holding cameras in my collection were shot by me. In recent years, my daughter-in-law Sandra has photographed many family events but it has been her or me and never both at the same time, so even now there are few of me holding cameras.

The main photo at the top does not fit the subject perfectly, but it does illustrate the almost 70 years between a shot taken today and the oldest one from 1952 below.

My Rolleicord & me – 1952 – Camera: Unknown

I have no idea when or where it was shot but I must have been about 9 years old and the camera that appears in it is the Rolleicord that I then used for many years. The photo was scanned from a hard copy.

No camera but with the photometer in my hand that I always wore around my neck. The camera was my Leica IIIf, a colleague took the photo at a campsite in Salou (Catalunya-Spain). I think the photometer was an Agfa Lucimeter Kino – Ref. 127, the shape, the chain, the opening system and my memories of it match.

My photometer & me      1956      Photo: Leica IIIf

I also did some filming with 16mm cameras. The first with a Paillard Bolex (from 1941 or 1947) of the family, it was very cumbersome, surprisingly I keep the monstrous tripod and the leather transport case, both from before 1950. Later I filmed with the Keystone Myfair that you can see in the photo, next to it my inseparable photometer.

My Keystone Myfair & me      1958      Photo: Leica IIIf

With the Rolleicod hanging from my neck, in the center Josep and to the right Enric, a future professional photographer – this photo was taken with his Contaflex (from 1955?) In the port of Barcelona. In this image and the following ones, the small inset squares show the camera used to take the photo and are authentic from the same day or very close, and in the hands of the shooter.

My Rolleicord & me with Josep and Enric  – 1959 – Photo: Enric / Contaflex

Some years later and the digital period has arrived. This photo is made in Galicia with a quality analog camera and Zeiss lens, although the photo is not very good and the scan affected the result.

Minolta Dymage 7 & me with Enric’s wife Juanita and my wife       2003       Photo: Enric / Voigtländer Bessa R2

The Kodak 880 gave me a lot of joy, it was handy, light, versatile, took quality photos and had a 24/140 mm lens (in 35mm format equivalent). This photo is taken in the tourist architectural complex “El Pueblo Español” in Barcelona. At some stage, I would like to do an article on the Kodak 880.

My Kodak 880 & me – 2008 – Photo: Enric / Sony 580

I replaced the Kodak 880 with a Sony A37, this photo was taken in the castle “La Florentina” of Canet de Mar near Barcelona

My Kodak 880 & me – 2011 – Photo: Enric / Sony 580

To finish, I’ll show you a recent photo of a fairly normal action among tourists, which is taking a self-portrait taking advantage of the mirrors of an architectural facade. It is shot in “El Maremagnum” located in the port of Barcelona.

Sony A37 & my wife and me – 2019 – Photo: Me / Sony A37

I’m sure some who will ask what happened between 1959 and 2003, so I’ll explain it to you. To begin with, I had other things in my mind such as having fun, studying etc… and until 1973 I took few photos and there are no pictures of me with a camera in hand. Then when I finished my studies and military service I got married and made the mistake of going to the 110 format. It was a very comfortable format, but of low quality and finding a photo with a 110 camera in is very difficult because of its size. I have only seen one photo of me with a “suspicious” bulge in my shirt pocket, perhaps a Kodak Instamatic pocket 500. I did later shoot with the Pentax ME, but unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a photo of me with that camera either. Despite the missing years, I hope you liked the story.

Thanks for reading.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Peter
    February 10, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    A fun read and enjoyable photos. I think you’ve given me an idea (excuse?) for looking through my archives! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 11:52 am

      Hello, check your files and you will surely find very interesting things. Thanks for reading my article.

  • Reply
    Loris Viotto
    February 10, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    il tempo passa e le foto restano! Auguri a Tutti…

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 11:50 am

      Ciao, sono completamente d’accordo, nel mio caso posso rivedere la mia vita e se ha bisogno di essere migliorata. (trad. Google)

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    February 10, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing the photos!

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Hello, thank you for reading my article and appreciating it.

  • Reply
    Micah
    February 11, 2021 at 2:27 am

    This is a neat article, both for the idea of showing oneself with one’s cameras, and also for the long timespan it covers.

    I’m not as old as you, but I wish I had pictures of myself holding my dad’s Canon SLR on our farm in the ’80s, my own crappy APS point and shoot during a trip to the Philippines in the late ’90s, and my beloved Olympus E-1 before it (and I) were tipped out of a canoe and into a river in the mid-2000s. As far as I know, I have none of these.

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 11:46 am

      Hello, memories are important, especially adventures and difficulties, thank you for your comments.

  • Reply
    Stefan Wilde
    February 11, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Hi Jordi,

    thanks for posting! I guess being the guy behind the camera most of the time is an experience that most readers of 35mmc share. I certainly can relate to that! And it is also interesting to see how many changes the medium has made in the course of a lifetime. Sometimes I wish I just had stuck to using my first ever camera – a Konica FC-1 which is still going strong. If I tried to put together a picture chronicle of my family and me, at least that would be consistent, Not a mess of slides, negatives, prints, videos and digital files… Such a chronicle would not feature pictures of me a lot and many of them with a camera in my hand. That would be fitting, because taking pictures gives me so much joy and it seems like it is the same for you. Keep shooting!

    All the best

    Stefan

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Hi, thanks for your comments. I will continue taking photos while I can and also articles for 35mmc because I love it.
      Stitching the past is good and photos help a lot.

  • Reply
    Bill Brown
    February 11, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Jordi, Thanks for the article. Those photos of you are wonderful. What a cherished gift that you have them. You have achieved a major accomplishment to have your archive digitized. I am presently in that process so I know what a task it is. Thankfully I have had all my film scanned at time of processing since the early 2000’s.

    I too have been the photo archivist for close friends and family but only since the 1960’s. There are only three photos of me with camera in hand but there are several others that people shot of me with my own camera. My favorites are the ones my daughter shot when we were playing together. She was around five years old and I love the low angle perspective. The most recent was this past year. As she headed off to University she requested a Canon AE-1 with b&w film in it. The first shot on that roll of Tri-X is of us reflected in her bathroom mirror. Most cherished. I am the true example of the Kodak ad campaign of the 1970’s. The title of the campaign was The times of your life with the theme song sung by Paul Anka. I’m most grateful that I’ve taken all the photos, no regrets.

    Keep shooting and writing.

    Regards,
    Bill

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 4:01 pm

      Hello, thank you for your comments and of course I will continue to take photos and articles.
      I encourage whoever has their old photos to publish them, please do not leave me alone. I can’t make many comments because I know very little English and I translate everything with Google, even the articles. I thank Hamish because he makes some corrections to me.
      Thanks again and regards.

  • Reply
    Ramon Faixa
    February 11, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Hola Jordi!
    Per històries i articles com aquest, la fotografia és un dels millors hobbys que pot existir. El plaer de practicar-ho i l’emoció de mantener vius records entranyables de la vida. I veure com progresses!
    Ànims per seguir escribint més a 35mmc!

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 11, 2021 at 9:20 pm

      Hola, gràcies pel teu comentari, és un plaer veure participació en el meu idioma. Ja he fet diversos articles en 35mmc i francament m’ho passo molt bé, només sóc aficionat però com hauràs vist des de fa molt temps i … tinc moltes idees en cartera. Espero poder llegir-te de nou.
      Salutacions

      Hello, thank you for your comment, it is a pleasure to see participation in my language. I have already done several articles in 35mmc and frankly I have a great time, I am only an amateur but as you have seen for a long time and … I have many ideas in my portfolio. I hope I can read you again.
      regards

  • Reply
    Lee
    February 12, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who (at least in part) has taken on the mantle of photographer and documentarian because I really don’t want to be in anyone else’s photos. Funny that I have no problems taking all the photos, but avoid the taking end of the lens myself. Anyway, even if not always taken with a “proper” camera, my wife will still get the occasional photo of me if we’re out and about. And I have a young daughter who really has a growing love of photography, so she likes to take my picture when we go out on photo walks. So I can hardly now avoid being captured. Oh well, I still take most of the photos anyway.

    • Reply
      Jordi Fradera
      February 12, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Hi
      I’m just an amateur photographer, as a tourist I always carried my camera and I almost had to beg or force my wife or my son to photograph me and certify my presence, they never showed much interest.
      I think it’s great that your daughter likes photography, encourage her.

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